Spike Walker's memior of his own adventures at sea, Working on the Edge, was hailed as the definitive account of this perilous trade by James A. Michener. The author of Coming Back Alive, Spike has worked aboard some of the most successful crab boats in the Alaskan fleet, and rode out one of the worst storms in Alaska's histroy. Now dividing his time between Oregon and Alaska, he is at work on his third book.
Addicts of true adventure tales will find few more exciting collections than this account of eight battles fought by men and women against the sea off the coast of Alaska between 1980 and 1994. Walker (Working on the Edge) has been a crewman on crab and salmon boats for nine years and knows many of those who survived the ordeals he describes here so vividly. In 1989, according to one account, the temperature fell to -40F and gusts of wind reached 100 mph, blowing anemometers off ships. What lures the men and women into these incredible conditions is money: a successful crabbing voyage of only a month can bring in $10,000 for the lowest-ranking crew member and as much as $60,000 for the owner/captain. But beside these meteorological horrors are stories of great heroism by rescuing sailors and by a Coast Guard helicopter pilot named Jimmy Ng, who played a key role in two of the rescues described here. Less heroic individuals are portrayed as well‘the captain who fled to his cabin in the middle of a storm and panicky, inexperienced sailors already sitting in life rafts before the order to abandon ship was given. Maps would have been a valuable addition. (Sept.)
Stories of disaster and survival in commercial fishing boats working the Alaskan coast make up this sequel to Walker's Working on the Edge (LJ 6/15/91). These eight stories of fishermen whose trips went sour are harrowing, but the book's overall effect is numbing rather than exciting. Although no one would deny the suffering and loss experienced by the survivors, their stories are pretty much alike. Walker does not have a particularly deft style, nor, in this volume, does he provide any great insight into conditions in the king-crab trade. Only libraries that purchased the earlier book and are particularly interested in the subject should take the trouble to acquire this.‘Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
"Addicts of true adventure tales will find few more exciting collections thatn this account of eight battles fought by men and women against the sea off the coast of Alaska between 1980 and 1994...[Walker] knows many of those who survived the ordeals he describes here so vividly." --Publisher's Weekly "It is said that America's most dangerous profession is commercial fishing on Alaska's high seas. Even a quick dip into this collection will convince you of that...Grab-you-by-the-throat, rip snorting tales of diasaster on furious high seas." --Kirkus Reviews